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Trust put in special measures defends chief exec's pay rise

The chair of a hospital trust that was put in special measures after a major review of high mortality rates said it would have been a “grave mistake and false economy” not to boost its chief executive’s salary by £25,000.

Karen Jackson, who is in charge of Northern Lincolnshire and Goole Hospitals Foundation Trust, received the inflation-busting rise from £145,000 to £170,000 in April last year.

That figure makes her comfortably better paid than the Prime Minister, whose salary is £142,500.

Last month health secretary Jeremy Hunt announced the trust, which serves a population of 358,000 people from three main sites in Grimsby, Goole and Scunthorpe, was one of 11 to be placed in special measures following a review into high mortality rates by NHS England medical director Sir Bruce Keogh.

The critical review found: a lack of clinical changes being made to improve care; ambulance staff were caring for patients in some cases at the A&E department at Grimsby Hospital; concerns over staffing levels and skills; and that the trust was breaching national standards on mixed sex wards.

Jacky Crawford, a former nurse and lay member of the trust’s board, told the BBC yesterday that Ms Jackson’s salary increase was unwarranted. She said: “If somebody is doing a decent job, if they’re improving services and people are happy with those services, then I would say it’s justified.

“But I don’t think in this case it’s justified because I don’t think they’re doing their job.”

However, the trust’s chair has now hit back, claiming that Ms Jackson’s pay increase was justified.

Dr James Whittingham said: “The remuneration committee is responsible for agreeing the executive management team’s salary bands and uses a national system to determine its decisions on pay.

“The bands are reviewed every year and a variety of factors are taken into account, such as comparative salaries in the NHS, individual performance and market forces.

“The executive salaries at this trust are either in line with or below those at similar trusts.

“It is important that we pay salaries which are commensurate with the job to attract and retain high calibre people.

“Karen Jackson’s starting salary in 2010 was set below the agreed rate as it was her first chief executive post, and she declined a pay rise after her first year in the role.

“She is now receiving a salary that is roughly in line with the average for trusts of this size and type.

“The remuneration committee always strives to keep a balance between competitive pay and the need for financial restraint in what are challenging times and I fully believe we have achieved that.

“It would be a grave mistake and false economy to pay so far below the market rate that executives leave their posts or are impossible to recruit.”

Members of the remuneration committee whose salaries are being discussed by the committee do not participate in these discussions, the trust said.

The chief executive joined in autumn 2010 on a salary of £145,000, she declined a rise in 2011 and it was increased to £170,000 in April last year in line with similar roles, a trust spokeswoman said.

 

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Readers' comments (2)

  • This is a very high salary, why not get a nurse to do it for a lot less.
    Stories like this just upset people - the staff, the patients, the local community.

    Unsuitable or offensive?

  • In almost any organisation of any size, public or private, there is at least one person at the second or third level who would take the boss's job for no extra pay, to show how much better thy could do it.

    See if you can find one where you work. It could be you.

    Some of them are mistaken, some not. Some will get the boss's job one day anyway.

    Most of us have just average talents.

    There aren't enough people around who are significantly different from the average that they can fill all the silly money jobs.

    The number is about the same as those who need help with daily living challenges.

    Others who clearly are talented don't get that sort of reward. I know people who can play three or four different parts on two manual and pedal organ with a sense of varying styles over four centuries and as many regions or countries. They don't get that kind of monetary recompense, but they do get a lot of fun.

    In 1948 Glasgow Royal infirmary had a 21 year old newly qualified accountant in his first job. The deal was that although the pay was low, the experience and responsibility of a charity job (not to mention the contacts) would stand you in good stead when you applied for a much better paid job after a decent interval.

    He retired in 1974.

    In July 1948, on getting the proper rate for the job, he paid more in tax than his net pay the month before.

    His new pay rate would be about £400 per annum. The highest standard rate of tax immediately post war was 19/6 in the pound.

    Around the same time the Victoria hospital had a retired officer (an admiral, I think) who did the top pay job for no salary at all.

    He had a certain air of authority about him, I was told.

    Unsuitable or offensive?

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